Art-O-Mat Seeks Florida Artists

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Original art can be expensive, so we get a culture of artless people and starving artists. Clark Whittington is trying to change that. He recycles old cigarette machines and turns them into "Art-O-Mats, dispensing objets d'art at five bucks a pop. ''In many cases, Art-o-Mat is the first time artists have sold art and the first time a buyer has bought art,'' Whittington told the Miami Herald.

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Erin Lee

In the twelve years since the first Art-O-Mat was installed, hundreds of artists from around the world have filled almost a hundred machines. And it isn't small change; evidently two single moms from Bangladesh made enough money from hand-knit dolls to support their families for a year.

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Whittington told Cammy Clark of the Herald:

''When artists find out this is run by an artist, then they understand maybe why the money is not so great,'' Whittington said. ``It's more about public relations and proliferation of their work.''

It's also about making art accessible to all. 'At my first machine, a police officer told me, `Well, your art is right smart,' '' Whittington recalled. ``It's not a term critics use, not a term Picasso would use. But it opened my eyes that it was reaching people who may never have been exposed to art before.''

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Woodie Anderson

More in the Miami Herald

See more vending in TreeHugger:

The Swap-O-Matic
Envirobank’s Reverse Vending Machines

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